Saturday, August 16, 2014

Lego Emmet Cake!


Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache Filling

Fondant Finish and Decoration

(Stay tuned for a photo tutorial on how I made this cake!)







Happy Baking!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

SugarEd Productions Online Sugar Art School!

SugarEd Production's Online Sugar Art School is currently running a sale 
exclusively for fans of The Baking Sheet!
 

$3 for a 30 day full membership!!!!!!

WHAT A GREAT DEAL!!

Here's what you get for $3:
*30 days of full access to the online school
*High definition full length video tutorials
*Step by step photo tutorials
*Recipe and article bank
*Photo gallery
*Chat forums
*More every week!
*Celebrity Instructors!!


If anyone is interested click the link below!


These are some of the amazing instructors!
 
Lots of great projects and techniques!





Happy Baking!!

Guest Contributor: The Business of Baking

Once again please welcome our guest contributor:
Michelle Green from The Business of Baking!
~~~~~~~~~

The Top Five Mistakes New Cake Business Owners Make
by Michelle Green

Making mistakes is part of what makes life interesting – and it's only by learning from those mistakes that we become better people and better business owners. So much about small business ownership is about figuring things out as you go along, but a bit of foresight is always useful, which is why I'm sharing the five most common mistakes new cake business owners make.

1) Not realising you are in business – you know how it is, you make a cake for your child's birthday or a friend and suddenly everyone is telling you to go into business because your creation was brilliant. Then a friend calls and asks you to make a cake for her child, gives you some money for the trouble...and BOOM, you're in business. You didn't plan it, you didn't do anything special to make it happen - but make no mistake, as soon as money changed hands, you conducted a business transaction. It's easy to still think it's just a hobby, you're just messing around, you're a beginner...but the minute you got money for your creation (even if it didn't cover costs), you were acting as a business. Basically -conducting business is when goods and services are exchanged for one another or for money. Even if you sold that cake to your Mum, that puts you in business and that's just not the same as having a hobby. The rules are entirely different, and you need to think about things in a different way from then on – even if your cake was wobbly and even if the money was only a few dollars.

2) Not keeping track of expenses - When you're still in the hobby stage, you don't really think of all those cool cake toys as being 'expenses' and you definitely don't think of your ingredients as expenses either. As soon as you start accepting money for your creations you should start keeping track of what you're spending. It's just a good habit to get into, even if it's a long time before you'll ever make that money back. Some of those expenses might even be tax deductible, so it's well worth keeping track of the items you're buying. You might be a long way off feeling like it's a “real” business or even acting like it's one, but noting down expenses (even with an old school pen and paper tucked into your bag) is a good thing to start doing as it develops your business mindset.

3) Worrying too much about the competition - Without a doubt, you need to know who your competition is, what they charge and what their products are like. Knowing what you're up against is vital information because it helps you decide on the parameters of your own business, and helps you make decisions. However, if you're spending the time you've got obsessively stalking the competition online, posting cakes in forums waiting for your peers approval, complaining about other companies having more orders than you do, or talking negatively about other companies, that's a complete waste of your time. Spend that time marketing your business, developing new products, and talking to your customers or future customers. We don't like to say it, but you're in this to make money from selling cake, so selling is what you should be spending your time doing.

4) Waiting for customers to just magically appear - You've got the business cards, the shiny new baking pans, the website and the logo, but the orders aren't coming in.  The tumbleweeds blow past your door because there are no customers there to stop them. New business owners forget that it's not enough just to be great at what you do, you've got to go out there and bring people to you. Word of mouth is fabulous and will absolutely help bring in customers, but there is a point at which you can no longer rely on it to be your only marketing plan.

5) Discounting: When you first hang out your shingle of business, pricing can be a hard skill to master. You don't know all the financial ins-and-outs of your business yet, you don't feel you are 'professional' yet, you still lack the confidence to charge what you should be charging. That's okay – we all go through that - but what's not okay is immediately offering discounts to potential customers because they either question your pricing or do not immediately order. In those early days we so desperately want the sale we discount, offer extras, and do all sorts of crazy things just to get the order. The problem with starting out as a “discounter” is that word gets around – fast – that you'll discount. Sure, the customer will tell all their friends about your amazing cakes, but they will also say that you'll discount when pushed, and that your cakes are cheap, neither of which are things you want your business to be known for!

The cake business – or small business – can be an immensely fun and exciting but immensely challenging place to be and there are plenty of lessons to be learned. The biggest lesson of all is understanding that your baking business can't just be about the baking and creating – it's got to be about the business side of it too.

Copyright 2014 Michelle Green The Business of Baking All rights reserved.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Michelle is a food writer, trained chef and pastry chef with a huge amount of knowledge and helpful insight into running a cake business. She is also the sole author of the blog, "The Business of Baking" -www.thebizofbaking.com.  "The Business of Baking" is specific to the baking and decorating industry and teaches you how to make a real living doing what you love. Michelle started cake decorating at sixteen years old and eventually turned her hobby into a business by becoming a pastry chef, then opening a custom cake business and owning it for ten years. These days, Michelle is an educator, consultant and author who mentors other decorators in business, proving that it's possible to run a business and maintain your sanity at the same time. In 2014 and 2015 Michelle will be teaching live classes all about running a sustainable business. More information on her courses can be found at  www.bizbakeontour.com.

1st Day of School... How Many More Days???

**SWEET REPEAT**

School Bus Cookies!

Happy Baking!


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Guest Contributor: The Business of Baking

Once again please welcome our guest contributor:
Michelle Green from The Business of Baking!
~~~~~~~~~

How to Lose Weight and Still Eat Chocolate Every Day

by Michelle Green, The Business of Baking

Five years ago I decided to change the course of my life dramatically, and over the course of two years I lost 70 kilos (154 pounds). (That's like losing an entire supermodel holding a big handbag.) I've now kept that weight off (plus a bit more) for three years. It might surprise you to know that in all those years, I ate chocolate pretty much every single day and I still do.

Here's the interesting thing about losing weight. LOSING it is actually the really easy part. You're all excited about your shiny new gym card, you love your bright pink running shoes,you can't wait to program your Fitbit,you went and got the cutest pair of gym pants ever, and you've told everyone you know that you are “being good.” You've got a goal weight in mind, you've set up some mini goals along the way, you've got a reward scheme set up for each goal, and most of all you're motivated and excited and you are going to DO THIS THING! You are losing weight, getting fit, and things are looking pretty damn fabulous both emotionally and physically.

Fast forward three months. The weather has turned cold so you end up staying in bed and therefore missing your Zumba class. Your fancy water bottle broke when you dropped it and you haven't had the chance to replace it. It's Valentine's Day, Christmas, your birthday, Mother's Day...and you allowed yourself to indulge on the holiday (and then just kept on indulging). You've either hit the dreaded plateau, or the scale has started to move in the wrong direction entirely.

Fast forward three months. You managed to stop the food train before it raced to the bottom of the hill, you got back on track and replaced the water bottle, found a way to exercise on cold days (hooray for Zumba DVDs) and the scale is back to moving in the direction it's meant to. Before you know it, you've hit your goal weight!

You go out to dinner to celebrate.
(oh the irony.)

Fast forward three months. You've ticked off the mini goals and gotten the gold star for the big goal, the runners now look a little tatty and the plastic on the gym card has started to peel at the corners. You can't remember the last time you looked at the My Fitness Buddy app you used to track your weight loss on.

Fast forward three months. You're now heavier than when you started a year ago.

Wait. What? What does that scale say?! What the hell happened?!

What happened to all that excitement, motivation, enthusiasm, drive? What happened is that you forgot that your life continues for a long time after you've reached goal weight. It's about what you do AFTER you get to your goal that's much more important. You've still got to exercise and eat right and be involved with your body EVERY SINGLE DAY. Yes, of course, since you're not actively looking to lose more weight you can be a little more relaxed, drop the intensity down a little, allow a treat or two without beating yourself up about it..but there is no way you can get off that treadmill permanently and expect to maintain your new svelte figure. Even supermodels have to work at keeping those bodies looking the way they do.

If you haven't worked it out already, losing weight and owning a business are very similar life experiences. It's what happens AFTER all the fun stuff of setting up the business which is important. You get so excited in the beginning – designing logos, ordering business cards, signing up for wedding expos, searching out new packaging, buying lots of gorgeous vintage cake stands and telling everyone you know that you are starting a new business. It's such an incredible adrenaline rush, isn't it?

Fast forward three months. You haven't gotten quite as many orders as you had hoped, the ink on the business cards wasn't quite the right colour, a few of your cake stands got borrowed and never returned.

Fast forward three months, and three months more, and three months more. Your business (like the numbers on the scale) has gone up and down like a yoyo. Sure, there were a lot more ups than downs, you still love what you do, this whole thing is still awesome and you're still mostly motivated...but it doesn't seem to have an end point. The goal was to open the business (or open the shopfront), and you did that. Now what? Honestly, sometimes in business it can just feel like an endless slog of rent which needs to be paid, bills which need to be managed, and cakes which need to be baked, products which need to be created, marketing ideas which need to be put into action. Those things, for as long as you'll be in business, won't ever go away...much like holiday eating binges, cold winter mornings that keep you from the gym and sleeves of Oreos won't go away either (much to my disappointment.)

I've often said that going INTO business is the easy part, STAYING in business is the hard part. Those of you who have been at this for a while will know how true that is.

It's what happens AFTER you've reached the goal which is - in many ways - more important than the actual goal itself.

Know why you're in business – why you're in this for the long haul, long after the last cake crumbs have been eaten – is what's going to keep you going. Bringing a fancy water bottle along is optional.

Copyright 2014 Michelle Green The Business of Baking All rights reserved.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Michelle is a food writer, trained chef and pastry chef with a huge amount of knowledge and helpful insight into running a cake business. She is also the sole author of the blog, "The Business of Baking" -www.thebizofbaking.com.  "The Business of Baking" is specific to the baking and decorating industry and teaches you how to make a real living doing what you love. Michelle started cake decorating at sixteen years old and eventually turned her hobby into a business by becoming a pastry chef, then opening a custom cake business and owning it for ten years. These days, Michelle is an educator, consultant and author who mentors other decorators in business, proving that it's possible to run a business and maintain your sanity at the same time. In 2014 and 2015 Michelle will be teaching live classes all about running a sustainable business. More information on her courses can be found at  www.bizbakeontour.com.











Monday, July 28, 2014

Wonky Candy Communion Cake!

 A fun twist on a traditional Communion cake...
Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake with Oreo Buttercream Filling!




Happy Baking!

Minecraft Cupcakes Featured in a New Craft Book!

Check out this new craft projects book for all things Minecraft!
They featured my creeper and pig cupcakes!
So cool!

You can buy the book here:  Minecraft Project Book



Happy Baking!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Guest Contributor: The Business of Baking

Business Cards:  Why and How You Need Them

by Michelle Green, The Business of Baking

In a world where technology seems to be created faster than we can master it, it would be reasonable to think that traditional business cards as a marketing tool are no longer relevant. In recent years business cards have had a bit of a revolution, you can now get all sorts of different sizes, shapes and textiles. I recently got one which was engraved on very thin balsa wood, and one embedded with seeds so that if you were to plant it and water it, in a few weeks you'd end up with some alfalfa. Business cards are as relevant a marketing tool as they ever were, and I find myself using them in all sorts of situations. I've given them out at networking events, attached them to quotes I gave to clients, given them out to people or companies I meet who want more information, or even attached them like a gift tag to some items I put in a goodie bag for a cake show. My first business cards were awful freebies from an online company, but as my business and level of professionalism evolved, so did my business cards. They are relatively inexpensive to produce, so having to update them once a year is really not a huge expense for what may be a great return.  Simply having a business card at all indicates a level of professionalism so they're well worth investing in.

At the very least, your card should be seen as an extension of your brand. If you sell a premium product, don't give out a thin, cheap feeling card with a stock photo on it. Similarly if you sell macarons, don't get a card with a photo of a cute kitten on it. Your business card should be a reflection of your brand and what you do.

At the very least your business card should include:
  • Your business name
  • Relevant branding (colours and fonts)
  • Your logo
  • Your name (especially important for small businesses. People prefer to call and ask for a specific person)
  • Contact details (phone and email at the very least)
  • Website address for your business
  • Something which indicates what you do. In my case, along the top edge of the card it says,
  • “Cakes*Cupcakes*Cookies*Classes” so there is no question about what things we offer. We do offer more services than that, but those are our main selling areas.
If you've got the room for it, you can think about adding in:
  • Your tag line if you've got one. By tag line I refer to the 'second line' of your business name.
  • Social media 'buttons' and how to find you: for example the little Twitter bird icon and then @yourtwittername I would not use the whole address for social media sites as their logos have strong enough recognition. I would only include the social media which you regularly update and interact with, even if you are on more than one platform. There is no point wasting space on a small card with social media accounts you rarely use.
You might be surprised that I'm not including social media as a “must have” and that's because in the first instance, we're wanting to use those cards to generate leads which may turn into orders. It's much easier to find a company on social media than it is to find their price list, so use your cards to drive people to the place which is most likely to turn into an order: your website. Once they've got your business name and web address, it's easy enough to find out where you are hanging out online if they are interested enough to do so, plus your website itself will tell them.

Getting your first set of cards feels incredible – it gives you a certain legitimacy and there is no denying your name is there on a tangible item. You need to also think of it as a living item though, so that means it will need updating, and it will need to be actually used! I always have a little stash of them in my wallet and I make sure my loved ones do, too. Many is a time I got an order from my husband's work mate or my in law's friends – all because they had a spare card or two in their handbag. Business cards are as exciting to get as they are to give – just be sure that they are  portraying your brand in the correct light (which means I wouldn't use the seeds card unless you own a plant nursery.)

Business card tip of the day: Any time anyone asks for me for a card, I give them two and say, “Here's one for you to hang onto, and one for you to share with a friend,” It's such a simple strategy but it's worked really well for me – people are surprisingly good at following directions like that.  As an added bonus, even if they don't remember to share it, they've got one to refer to when the first one gets lost.

Copyright 2014 Michelle Green The Business of Baking All rights reserved.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Michelle is a food writer, trained chef and pastry chef with a huge amount of knowledge and helpful insight into running a cake business. She is also the sole author of the blog, "The Business of Baking" -www.thebizofbaking.com.  "The Business of Baking" is specific to the baking and decorating industry and teaches you how to make a real living doing what you love. Michelle started cake decorating at sixteen years old and eventually turned her hobby into a business by becoming a pastry chef, then opening a custom cake business and owning it for ten years. These days, Michelle is an educator, consultant and author who mentors other decorators in business, proving that it's possible to run a business and maintain your sanity at the same time. In 2014 and 2015 Michelle will be teaching live classes all about running a sustainable business. More information on her courses can be found at  www.bizbakeontour.com.



The Business of Baking!

Here at The Baking Sheet, I receive many emails with questions regarding pricing, cottage laws, contracts, cancellation policies, etc.

We understand the importance of the business side of the baking industry so I am thrilled to announce that the lovely Michelle Green from The Business of Baking has accepted my invitation to be a regular contributor to The Baking Sheet!!!!  


I would love for Michelle's articles to help answer some of your questions and start some interesting discussion on business topics! Whether you are thinking about starting a small cake business or already have an established bakery, there will be something for everyone!



Welcome Michelle!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A little about Michelle:
Michelle is a food writer, trained chef and pastry chef with a huge amount of knowledge and helpful insight into running a cake business. She is also the sole author of the blog, "The Business of Baking" - www.thebizofbaking.com.  "The Business of Baking" is specific to the baking and decorating industry and teaches you how to make a real living doing what you love. Michelle started cake decorating at sixteen years old and eventually turned her hobby into a business by becoming a pastry chef, then opening a custom cake business and owning it for ten years. These days, Michelle is an educator, consultant and author who mentors other decorators in business, proving that it's possible to run a business and maintain your sanity at the same time. In 2014 and 2015 Michelle will be teaching live classes all about running a sustainable business. More information on her courses can be found at  www.bizbakeontour.com.




Sunday, June 29, 2014

Southern Magnolia Blossom Cake!

Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake with Caramel Buttercream Filling.
Fondant Finish and Gumpaste Magnolia Blossom!





 Happy Baking!!